Saturday, 4 November 2017

Quince Cheese - Membrillo



It's a rare dull and rainy day in Bodrum - a stay at home and mess about in the kitchen sort of day. Before lunch I tipped 3 lamb shanks, onions and root veg into the slow cooker so there is a homely smell of stew wafting around - I thought the rain was preventing Jake crossing the threshold, but it may be the scent of braised lamb bones. After our morning walks I have been picking up windfalls from my neighbour's quince tree - it seems a shame that they are usually left to rot. Today was the day to do something with them. I usually peel, halve and de-core quinces and roast them with honey and lemon juice but these sad specimens were small and half rotten in parts and only salvageable in bits. So I decided to make Membrillo - the delicious set quince paste that is solid enough to cut into shapes and is best served with salty sheep's cheese. 


Ingredients 
Quinces
Sugar
Water 
Lemon juice

I put my cored, peeled and chopped quince pieces in an saucepan and poured in just enough water to almost cover the fruit.  This is then put on a gentle boil until almost all the water is boiled away and the fruit is soft. You should have about 4 tablespoons or a centimetre of water left in the bottom of the pan. Most recipes tell you to boil the fruit in plenty of water then drain this away,  but all the pectin leeches from the fruit into the water and this last concentrated bit will make sure your paste sets firm. Tip the contents of the saucepan into a bowl and puree it with a stick blender (or push it through a sieve) - Wash the saucepan and using a cup, measure the quince puree back into the saucepan. Wash and dry the cup and then use it to put the same amount of sugar into the puree and add the juice of half a lemon for each two cups.  Stir this mixture to dissolve the sugar and keep on a low heat as it gently bubbles and thickens. Mine took 45 minutes to get to a thick, dark orange.  The mixture will need stirring every few minutes so don't leave it for long or it will stick to the bottom of the pot. I think you could safely put it in a slow cooker for a few hours but mine was full of stew. 



When your wooden spoon leaves a clean path behind it on the bottom of the saucepan, turn off the heat and turn your oven on to its lowest setting - mine is about 60 degrees C. Line a tin with lightly buttered baking parchment and pour in the paste.  Pop it into the oven until it sets firm. Mine took 1 hour. The aim is to dry it not cook it.

Delicious served with Izmir Tulum cheese. 

Cut into squares and wrapped in greaseproof paper, membrillo will last for months in the fridge. Next time (there are plenty more quinces to fall) I will pour it into a cupcake tray lined with paper cases and make individual small cheeses.  But that can wait until the next rainy day.

18 comments:

  1. That took me back! I used to make that every year while in Europe for all our houses had quince trees...
    Now it is guava paste...

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    1. I wonder id a mixture of quince and persimmon would work

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  2. Two similar recipes can be found in a cook book published by the Ihtiyarlar Yardim Dernegi - Sefarad Yemekleri (Jewish Old Age Home). One is called Halva de Bimbriyo Ayva Helvasi) and the other is Loap de Bimbriyo (Quince JellY).

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    1. I think the link is Spain - origin for all these quince recipes. Thanks for letting me know

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  3. B to B, Brilliant! Thanks for the recipe.

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  4. what a splendidly simple recipe - cheese and quince jelly is on the cards!

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  5. Looks delicious. Lovely to see you sharing more recipes on your blog - maybe we could incorporate some cooking classes into our Blogger's Retreat! :)

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  6. Sounds delicious - I will try this.

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  7. Would love to try the quince jelly along with the cheese.

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    Replies
    1. I've bought in in delis in the UK - very expensive

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  8. For our rainy afternoon, Liam made me a butterscotch tart! :-D

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  9. So scrumptious!! May I pop in for a cup of tea!! How I wished, hope soon - elinize saglik, Ozlem xx

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